Steve Jobs sits at his home in Woodside, CA on December 15, 1982.
Steve Jobs was a closet audiophile. Yes, the man responsible for the iPod and the global domination of low-res MP3 files had a serious Hi-Fi fetish. As musician and audio quality champion Neil Young said in 2012, “Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl.”
This wasn’t a just wealthy man indulging in some hipster fantasy. Jobs’s analog roots ran deep, stretching back to at least to 1982. That’s when photographer Diana Walker snapped this candid portrait of him in his Woodside, California home. Other than the Tiffany lamp, the room’s only furnishings are a clutch of stereo components and a small stack of vinyl LPs. The shiny boxes loom large in the background like sacred totems, which is precisely what they were to Jobs. They embodied everything he held dear in high-end industrial design: clean lines, quality materials and workmanship, outstanding performance–price be damned. Although he would eventually upgrade to far more exotic equipment, like six-figure Wilson Audio speakers, this old school rig is still considered serious audio porn today. It should have been shipped off to the Smithsonian, preserved behind glass. But, like so many of the toys that famous men collect, it simply disappeared. Fortunately, the photograph and the forensic evidence it contains, remain.
For the curious, if you were to put together this same stereo rig today by picking up the components on the used market, it would cost about $8,200 — not including the records.
Steve Jobs’ long-lost stereo system:
• Threshold FET-One preamp
• Threshold STASIS-1 amplifier
• Denon TU-750s digital tuner
• MK1 GyroDec turntable
• Acoustat Monitor 3 electrostatic speakers